HortForum

Hort Forum: the ISHS Horticultural Debate Forum

ISHS Hort Forum

Prof. Dr. Ted DeJong, ISHS Vice-President responsible for overseeing the scientific programs of the International Society for Horticultural Science supports the launch of a new web-based initiative called "Hort Forum".

"The idea of this activity is to have webinars followed by panel discussions and open questions pertaining to the topic being presented. This initiative will provide opportunities for debating the positive and negative aspects of some of the science and technology innovations that are current in our fields of horticulture research. It is my contention that many times our meetings have become a bit stale and the normal course of events is that researchers make brief presentations at meetings or even in seminars. There is sometimes a brief time for polite questions, but there is little time devoted to debate or to openly discuss what is presented. The idea of "Hort Forum" is to provide opportunities for members of our Society to have this type of open discussion on current topics.

For the first "Hort Forum" I have chosen to initiate a discussion on the topic of 2D orchard systems. This is a very popular concept that is being promoted for many orchard crops and there is some controversy about the general advisability of these systems in varying circumstances.

Future "Hort Forums" will be on different topics and I am open to receiving suggestions for future topics that would be good subjects for this format. Please email me your suggestions. I thank George Manganaris for his willingness to manage the web aspects of this project and in helping with the organization to make this first "Hort Forum" a reality. He has managed to provide an opportunity for up to 1000 members of our Society to attend this on-line meeting. If you are interested register on a first-come, first-served basis."

Ted DeJong
Vice-President of the ISHS Board and Chair of the ISHS Executive Committee
tmdejong@ucdavis.edu

ISHS Hort Forum Episode 3:

Leveraging Molecular Markers in Fruit Tree Breeding: From Promise to Reality

Tuesday, 28th November 2023, Hours: 17:00 – 19:00 Central European Time (CET)

This ISHS Hort Forum webinar has ended - the video recording of this webinar is available below for on-demand viewing.

Speaker: Ksenija Gasic, Professor, Clemson University, South Carolina (USA)

  • Organizers: Ted DeJong, UC Davis (USA) and George Manganaris, Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus)
  • Moderator: François Laurens, President of ISHS (France)
  • Panelists: Tom Gradziel, UC Davis (USA), Richard Volz, The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research (New Zealand), Marco Cirilli, University of Milan (Italy) and Jose Quero, INRAE Bordeaux (France)
Tuesday, 28th November 2023, Hours: 17:00 – 19:00 Central European Time (CET)

Fruit tree breeding has undergone a significant transformation with the emergence of genomics technologies. The availability of extensive genomic resources, such as whole genome sequences, genetic maps, quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and genetic markers, has created expectations for DNA-assisted breeding potential to accelerate the development of new cultivars with desirable traits. DNA-informed breeding is now the norm in many tree fruit breeding programs, successfully increasing the efficiency of trait selection and gene pyramiding while shortening the time required for new cultivar development. While genetic-based breeding has been successful in improving fruit quality and biotic stress resistance in tree fruits, the application of genomic-assisted breeding is still in its early stages and presents new opportunities for future breeding efforts. An overview of the status and future prospects of genomics-enabled breeding efforts in tree fruit crops will be presented. The challenges and opportunities associated with the use of DNA information in tree fruit breeding, including the need to better understand the genetic architecture of important traits and the development of reliable and efficient genomic selection methods will be discussed. Examples of DNA-informed breeding use from RosBREED project will be presented for all breeding stages, including pre-breeding for disease resistance, parental and seedling selection, and elite selection advancement. Finally, a perspective on the future directions of tree fruit breeding in the genomic era and how genomics-enabled breeding can contribute to the sustainable production of high-quality cultivars and their adaptation to new climatic scenarios will be provided.

Hort Forum Episode 3: Abstract, speaker, organizers and panelists brochure: download here

ISHS Hort Forum Episode 2:

The present and future of the use of autonomous equipment and robotic harvesters in field-based fruit production

Thursday, April 27, 2023, 5pm-7pm (CET)

This ISHS Hort Forum webinar has ended - the video recording of this webinar is available below for on-demand viewing.

Speaker: Stavros Vougioukas, Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California (USA)

  • Organizers: Ted DeJong, UC Davis (USA) and George Manganaris, Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus)
  • Panelists: Ines Hanrahan, Washington Tree Fruit Commission (USA), Tim Delbridge, Oregon State University (USA), Lorenzo Marconi, University of Bologna (Italy) and Elia Bruni, Agrtec (Italy)
Thursday, 27th April 2023,Hours: 17:00 – 19:00 Central European Time (CET)

Mechanizing the manual harvesting of fresh market fruits constitutes one of the biggest challenges to the sustainability of the fruit industry Robotic harvester prototypes are being developed and field-tested for high-volume, high-value crops, such as apples, kiwifruit, and strawberries. However, most of the developed robots have not, to date, successfully replaced the judgment, dexterity, and speed of experienced pickers at a competing cost; the challenges of inadequate fruit picking efficiency and throughput remain largely unsolved. This first part of this presentation will present the main factors - horticultural and technological - that shape robots' harvest efficiencies and speeds and will stimulate discussion on approaches to overcome the existing limitations. As an intermediate step to full automation, mechanical labor aids have been introduced to increase productivity by reducing workers' non-productive time. The second part of this presentation will introduce the state of the art in robotic harvest-aid technology and present results from deploying robotic harvest-aid systems during commercial harvesting. Finally, the presentation will conclude by discussing 'big-picture' issues related to autonomous agricultural machines, labor, and the existing and necessary standards and regulatory framework.

Hort Forum Episode 2: Abstract, speaker, organizers and panelists brochure: download here

ISHS Hort Forum Episode 1:

Are 2-D orchard canopy management systems a leap forward or a side-step?

Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 5pm-7pm (CET)

This ISHS Hort Forum webinar has ended - the video recording of this webinar is available below for on-demand viewing.

Speaker: Terence Lee Robinson, Professor of Pomology, Horticulture Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell AgriTech, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University (USA)

  • Organizers: Ted DeJong, UC Davis (USA) and George Manganaris, Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus)
  • Panelists: Luca Corelli Grappadelli, University of Bologna (Italy), Stefano Musacchi, Washington State University (USA), Gregory Lang, Michigan State University (USA) and Ben van Hooijdonk, Institute for Plant and Food Research (New Zealand)
Tuesday, 7th February 2023,Hours: 17:00 – 19:00 Central European Time (CET)

Since the 1970s, fruit scientists have understood that quality of tree fruit crops is related to the exposure of the fruit and the surrounding leaves to light. This has led to more narrow canopies with higher light distribution which resulted in improved fruit quality. Concurrently, pioneers in high-density plantings have shown that early yield and cumulative yield are higher and fruit quality is better with high-density orchards and this has resulted in large improvements in lifetime profitability. Since the early 2000s, there has been a trend toward even more narrow canopies (fruiting walls) often termed 2-D systems. Those advocating these narrow systems report improved fruit quality and the possibility of easier mechanization, especially now that robotic mechanical harvesters are being developed. However, there is little data indicating that such canopies will outyield more traditional high-density canopies and more importantly that they are more profitable than a 3-D high-density system. This presentation is aimed at stimulating a scientific discussion of the value of 2-D systems and whether they represent an important leap forward in tree fruit production from an economic perspective.